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Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill that will close a loophole in sex offender rules.

The law will ban convicted sex offenders from playgrounds of recreation areas in private buildings. That means offenders will not be able to set foot in play areas like those found in McDonalds restaurants.

Published in Local News

GRANITE CITY, Ill. (AP) -- Authorities issued charges against an East St. Louis man for the death of a Cahokia man who was found in an Illinois state park lake on Sunday.

Scott L Thompson, 42, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the death of 20-year-old Dakota Jones.

Illinois State Police say Jones’ body was found Sunday morning in the water near a boat launch ramp at Horseshoe Lake State Park near Pontoon Beach.

Authorities say Jones died of blunt force trauma, and evidence at the scene indicates the case was a homicide.

Illinois State Police Capt. Jim Morrissey says Jones had been dead less than 24 hours when his body was found.

Thompson was taken into custody on Sunday and remains in police custody with no bond.

 

Published in Local News

CAVE-IN-ROCK, Ill. (AP) - Authorities have identified the 24-year-old man who died at an annual southern Illinois outdoor music festival.

The Hardin County coroner says the cause of death for Cory Collins of Harrisburg is pending the results of toxicology tests. 

The Southern Illinoisan reports Hardin was found dead at the Hog Rock campground during the Gathering of the Juggalos. That's a weekend festival based around the band Insane Clown Posse.

Hardin County Coroner Jessica Cullum says her office received a call about the death on Friday. Illinois State Police are investigating.

The festival that runs through Sunday is expected to draw about 10,000 people.

The event in past years has resulted in unrest, including in 2011 when one attendee drowned while trying to swim in the Ohio River.

 

Published in Local News
Saturday, 10 August 2013 08:02

Sentencing delaying in corruption trial

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge has again delayed the sentencing of a former Madison County treasurer to allow him to continue cooperating with a federal corruption investigation.

U.S. District Judge David Herndon on Friday delayed Fred Bathon's sentencing from August 30th until December 6th. Earlier this year the judge delayed Bathon's sentencing from May until August.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports Bathon's attorney filed a motion requesting the delay. Prosecutors didn't object.

Bathon pleaded guilty in February to rigging 2005-2008 tax lien auctions so that his political donors profited from inflated penalties paid by property owners.

Bathon could receive a prison sentence of between 31 and 40 months, though his sentence could be reduced because of his cooperation with investigators.

Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan are trying to speed up the resolution of a lawsuit they filed against Gov. Pat Quinn over his decision to cut lawmakers' pay.

A spokeswoman for Cullerton says the two leaders are asking a Cook County Circuit judge to rule on the merits of the case following Sept. 18 oral arguments, rather than just on a motion for a preliminary injunction.

Quinn cut $13.8 million for legislative salaries from the state budget as a consequence for lawmakers' failure to address Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

Madigan and Cullerton say the line-item veto is unconstitutional and violates the separation of powers.

Lawmakers, who already missed their August paycheck, would miss another one before the motion would be decided.

 

Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) - An Illinois appeals court has thrown out 31 convictions involving a woman who drunkenly caused a 2009 wreck that killed four people, although the panel let stand a 20-year prison sentence the woman said was excessive.

On Wednesday, the Mount Vernon, Ill.-based 5th District Appellate Court threw out all but one of Melissa Weiser's 32 convictions for felony aggravated driving under the influence, ruling them redundant even though the former East Carondolet woman pleaded guilty to the charges.

The 31-year-old unsuccessfully pressed to have her 20-year prison sentence reduced in connection with the Clinton County wreck that killed her fiance and three occupants of the another vehicle on Memorial Day weekend in 2009.

Weiser admitted she had been drinking and had smoked marijuana before the accident.

 

Published in Local News

   An 82 year old Alton woman who's been missing since Monday morning has been found alive.  

   Madison County authorities say horseback riders found Shirley Plunk Wednesday evening.  She and her minivan were stuck in the mud at the end of a dirt road in Mitchell, Illinois.  

   Plunk told police the van got stuck Monday afternoon.  She got out, slipped in the mud and became stuck herself.  

   Plunk was taken to a local hospital for evaluation and reunited with her family.  

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois' auditor has found that the state's prison systems have lost 240 computers.

Illinois Auditor General Bill Holland released the audits on Tuesday. Lee Enterprises newspapers reports the audits found 156 computers were unaccounted for at the Illinois Department of Corrections and 84 computers were lost at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.

Holland called the losses problematic because it increases the risk of exposing confidential information. Corrections and Juvenile Justice officials told auditors they would investigate the missing computers.

In June the auditor found more than 250 computers unaccounted for at Southern Illinois University.

State officials estimate the value of the missing SIU and prison computers at $639,000.

 
Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - A Cook County judge is hearing arguments on whether to dismiss a case challenging Illinois' ban on same-sex marriage.

The lawsuit being heard Tuesday before Circuit Judge Sophia Hall involves 25 couples who filed for marriage licenses in Cook County and were denied.

However, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez has refused to defend the state's ban, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. She says it violates the state constitution's equal protection clause. Attorney General Lisa Madigan has argued against the ban because the case brings the constitutionality of state laws into question.

Clerks from downstate were allowed to intervene and defend the ban.

Illinois approved civil unions in 2011, but attempts to legalize gay marriage have stalled.

 

Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - A Chicago federal appeals court isn't letting Illinoisans immediately tote firearms in public under the state's fledging concealed-carry law, but says it will give the matter a speedy review.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week turned down the emergency injunction request by gun-rights advocates who wanted Illinois gun owners to be able carry concealed weapons now instead of waiting months for the permitting process to be set up.

Mary Shepard and the Illinois State Rifle Association say the wait is unreasonable and unconstitutional.

The 7th Circuit will hear the case, but hasn't scheduled arguments.

The Illinois Legislature passed the last-in-the-nation concealed carry law July 9 against the governor's objections. Illinois State Police have 180 days to set up the process and another 90 days to process applications.

Published in Local News

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